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Developer of Keytone Supplements Raises $2M

Bloomfield, CT - Cognate Nutritionals, a Bloomington-based developer of ketone supplements for brain health, has raised $2 million in a round of venture capital, the company disclosed in a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cognate offers “medium-chain triglycerides” naturally found in coconut oil, to increase ketone production and help brain function. Typically, a decrease in the brain’s ability to utilize glucose often occurs due to aging as well as disease, according to the company.

“40+ years of peer-reviewed scientific research has proven that ketones are the brain’s only alternative fuel source. As people age or suffer from neurological decline, the brain becomes less able to utilize glucose, its usual source of fuel. Brain cells will then begin to decline and die. Typical diets generate low levels of ketones that are unable to adequately supply these energy deficient brain cells. However, when you raise the body’s ketone levels sufficiently, the brain will always fully utilize them, thus providing support to those same cells that were in decline.

The unique formulation of Fuel For Thought® provides medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), naturally found in coconut oil, to quickly increase ketone production and help to keep the brain supported in performing its many functions. Like a hybrid car that easily switches to a second source of good energy when the original runs out or is low, the more ketones you regularly have, the more consistent brain support you’ll enjoy.” – Cognate Nutritional’s Website

View the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commision

 

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Crossroads Venture Group Appoints Mary Anne Rooke as Executive Director

For Immediate Release

January 14, 2015 – Hartford CT – The Crossroads Venture Group (CVG) has appointed Mary Anne Rooke as its Executive Director to succeed former Executive Director Elizabeth “Liddy” Karter, who led CVG for four years.

“Crossroads Venture Group is incredibly pleased to announce Mary Anne as its new Executive Director. Mary Anne has been an active leader in Connecticut’s investment and entrepreneurial Mary Annecommunity through her prior leadership roles as Chairman, President and Managing Director of Angel Investor Forum, Executive Director of UConn’s Technology Incubation Program at the Storrs, Avery Point and Farmington campuses, and as Executive-in-Residence for Connecticut Innovations. This, along with her prior experience in Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial community and public policy advocacy work in California and Connecticut, positions Mary Anne to lead CVG as it embarks on its next chapter of growth,“ said Nat Brinn, President of CVG Board of Directors and Principal at Vital Venture Capital LLC.

Mary Anne is the founder of Rooke & Associates, a boutique management consulting firm. Previously, she held leadership positions in multiple industries ranging from start-up ventures to Fortune 500 companies in both publicly owned and privately held sectors and has served on boards and commissions in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Connecticut. Through her management consulting, angel investor, and startup activities, she has worked closely with the entrepreneurial communities on both the east and west coasts of the US. Mary Anne is a mentor and advisor with tech startups in Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI), UConn and also in the ASTIA and the Pipeline Fellowship networks for women-led startup ventures.

“Mary Anne’s unique experience at both ends of the investment process, as an angel investment leader and as an entrepreneur, has positioned her to lead CVG in bringing the investment ecosystem together to support CT’s emerging startup companies,“ said Elizabeth “Liddy” Karter, former CVG Executive Director and current Managing Director at Enhanced Capital Partners.

“It is an honor and privilege to be appointed the Executive Director of Crossroads Venture Group,” said Mary Anne Rooke. “My goal is to expand CVG’s core network of actively engaged resources in order to fuel more capital investment for our fast-growing entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Northeast region.”

 

About Crossroads Venture Group:

The Crossroads Venture Group is a professional organization that is committed to connecting leading investment professionals with high-growth emerging companies. CVG’s mission is to assist the development of high-growth enterprises through the promotion of capital formation in Connecticut.

Contact:
Kaitlyn Mode
Marketing Manager – CVG
860.289.0878 x338
kmode@ct.org

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January 2015 | Healthcare IT Recap

January’s event was full of transitions and excitement as Mary Anne Rooke, the new Executive Director of CVG, dove head first into the execution of a successful first meet-up. Unlike previous monthly events, the Healthcare IT meet-up featured a new program structured around a re-organized pitching segment called the Pitch Pit! for blog

The Pitch Pit:

Three successful growth companies were selected to present in front of a panel of highly experienced investors and live audience. Each company was given five minutes to pitch and then allotted five more minutes for Q&A with the audience and feedback from the investor panel. Investors also used a Connecticut-based web tool called Test My Pitch in order to give detailed remarks and advice to each of the presenting companies. Audience members filled out physical comment cards which were later distributed to the presenters. The following companies presented in the pit:

  • Bioarray Therapeutics – Presented by Marcia Fournier. Bioarray is tackling the problem associated with the large number of patients unresponsive to taxane chemotherapy. According to Bioarray roughly 75% of patients who take taxane, the first line of therapy, do not respond to the drug. Instead then, of sending patients through a cumbersome and exhausting trial and error of other drugs in line Bioarray aims to halt  therapy that will not work for these pitch 3pitch 1patients, before they even start. According to Bioarray, clinical studies can classify non-responders upfront, and therefore increase the rate of improvement by 68%. Bioarray is not quiet ready for commercialization but are expecting to launch within the next two years.
  • Diameter Health – Presented by Eric Rosow. Diameter Health is in the business of digitization and standardization of medical data with financial incentives. They aim to bring scalable, cost-effective medical apps to market that will transform healthcare through clinical intelligence. One platform with multiple solutions, integrated for those involved in the healthcare space.
  • Inbox Health – Presented by Black Walker. Inbox Health was inspired by the simple fact that “Nobody knows the price of healthcare services,” all stemming from mysterious pricing, inconsistent reimbursements, illusive affordability, complex benefit packages. The direct result of the confusion surrounding healthcare costs leaves patients scrounging for money and doctors unpaid. Inbox Health aims to revolutionize the transaction process associated with healthcare. With a mind to make collecting payment and distributing bills seamless for the physician and submitting payments easier for the patient, Inbox Health intends to be the next major app to drive the financial side of healthcare.

Immediately following the Pitch Pit keynote speaker Allen DeGraw, CEO and Founder of Post-n-Track, took to the podium to discuss the impacts of IT has on the healthcare industry. As many panelpitch 2would guess, Allen noted that the healthcare industry is a great place to be right now, and according to him some of the major drivers in healthcare are cost optimization, competition, reform and consumerism. As far as trends go, big data, the cloud, and mobile applications are among some of the top leading trends in the industry – all tech related. That being said, Allen touched upon some of the greatest areas for market growth and investment, some of them being business intelligence and anayltics, systems management, database, and business applications. Of course, even as IT and healthcare become closely linked and changes in the industry become more apparent and accepted, some of the biggest unsolved problems still include cost and quality of systems.

Thank you again to Mary Anne Rooke for helping us plan and execute a successful Second Thursday Presentation!

 

 

Congratulations to Gerald Michaud, President of Horizon Technology Finance, winner of this month’s “Ticket for Two” Innovation Summit giveaway! You can win tickets at the next CVG meet-up event by dropping your business card in the raffle box!

Click here to view more photos from the event!

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Liddy Karter Steps Down – Her Thoughts on the Appointment of Mary Anne Rooke

“As former executive director I greatly enjoyed helping the organization achieve the many goals that were established, when I joined, in Jan 2011. Some of these goals included Liddyincreasing the amount of regular activity in venture financing, increasing the number of investors directly involved in CVG, and most importantly increasing the amount of venture funding flowing to companies in our region. Crossroads Venture Group is now offering regular monthly events to highlight great local companies, professional services companies and investor groups. Of the six leadership positions at CVG five are directly held by investors. This is a testament to the value placed on CVG by investors as a place to find investments and to network with a community of likeminded investors and deal professionals. The most objective measure of our success is Connecticut’s ranking of 9th in venture dollars and deals invested per capita in the nation. This is crucial considering venture capital investments contribute directly to job growth and economic vitality.”

“Now is the perfect time to pass the baton to Mary Anne Rooke as new executive director of Crossroads Venture Group. Mary Anne has tremendous experience in venture investing both as an entrepreneurial CFO, an angel investor, and expert in venture funding. She has deep local contacts from her work as president of Angel Investor Forum, Manager of the TIP Program at UConn, and from her involvement with CT Innovations. As I continue to build our investment portfolio at Enhanced Capital CT, it is very important to me that CVG continues to grow. I am excited to see local companies continue to grow and by the role the CVG is playing to bring the investment ecosystem closer together.”

- Liddy Karter, Former Executive Director of Crossroads Venture Group

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Liddy Karter’s Final Address

Amidst a national rebound of venture capital activity, and an unprecedented recognition of the value of innovation and entrepreneurship, it’s easy to overlook the even greater success of Liddyour local venture market. Over the past four years Connecticut’s ranking in venture capital dollars, invested per capita, has gone from 21 to 9 reflecting about $150 million of additional venture capital dollars invested per year. This change results from strategic coordination among all the stakeholders in Connecticut’s innovation economy including the entrepreneurs who build the companies, the professionals who make the deals work, the investors who manage the capital, the universities that stimulate the research, and the administration that provides the policies to support the ecosystem.

Connecticut’s innovative companies are varied as any good portfolio should be but also weighted toward the highest potential sectors including alternative energy, life sciences, business services and advanced manufacturing. With continued focus on supporting our innovative, entrepreneurial sector Connecticut can solidify its position as the most efficient place to grow a venture backed company.

It has been an honor for me to serve as Executive Director of CVG during these past four successful years. As I step back into my role as an investor I look forward to participating in the next stage of exceptional growth and collaboration that we are so well positioned to lead. Thank you all for your support and investments.”

 

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2014 Holiday Party and Annual Meeting Recap

Awards Presented at 2014 Annual Party
Peter Longo Honored with 2014 Founders Award 

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Crossroads Venture Group, in partnership with the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC), presented various awards at its annual Holiday Party which took place December 11 at the University of Bridgeport.

Crossroads Venture Group presented its annual Founders Award to Peter Longo of Connecticut Innovations. Longo is a senior managing director of investments at Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CI) who has spent nearly 20 years in numerous roles at CI, including as President. In his current position, Longo is currently responsible for evaluating investment opportunities, structuring investments and monitoring portfolio companies at CI.  During the Annual Meeting, CVG elected new officers for their Board of Directors.

In addition to the CVG Award, the Innovation Excellence Award went to CTC member company APS Technology, Inc. APS joins what is now a long list of previous year winners that have included ATMI, Inc of Danbury, Pitney Bowes of Stamford, FuelCell Energy of Danbury, Open Solutions Inc (now Fiserv, Inc.) of Glastonbury, Sonalysts, Inc of Waterford, United Technologies Corporation, ESPN of Bristol, Tangoe, Inc of Orange, Rogers Corporation of Rogers and 2013 winner Alexion Pharmaceuticals of Cheshire.

The Innovation Excellence Award, now in its eleventh year, is given to a Connecticut Technology Council member company that has displayed technology leadership in its industry vertical, increased its market share, expanded its workforce and has been recognized for innovation by its peer or trade groups and industry analysts.

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APS Technology, Inc. was founded in 1993 by its current president, William Turner, to provide contract engineering services to the oilfield drilling industry. APS Technology has since grown into a leading provider of MWD/LWD, drilling & optimization (rotary steerable and drilling dynamics), and vibration management products for oil and gas drilling. APS has deep engineering expertise in the design, development and manufacture of oilfield electromechanical, instrumentation, sensor and software products, shock and vibration isolation designs, stress analysis for static and rotating conditions, and mechanical and electronics analysis for harsh environments. APS’s customers include all of the major integrated multinational oilfield service companies, independent directional drilling companies, MWD service companies and oilfield companies engaged in non-drilling related services.

Receiving the 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award was, John Schuyler, a partner at Marcum LLP, a prominent Connecticut public accounting and advisory services firm. Schuyler played a role in helping CTC conceptualize and launch the Tech Top 40 program begun in 2009. Schuyler John is also well known for his many trade mission visits to China’s Shandong province, Connecticut’s sister state for some 25 years now.

CTC’s third award was given to Liddy Karter who has been the Crossroads Venture Group’s (CVG) part-time Executive Director for the last four years.‎ While heading CVG, Karter has overseen several programmatic changes. Her mission was to deliver better events and content and more meaningful networking for the start-ups, investors and service providers who attend and support CVG events. Karter will now devote herself more fully now to her role as Managing Director at Enhanced Capital Partners, a national asset management firm providing investment capital to small businesses that are underserved by traditional sources of financing.

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Check out Event Photos

Event photos

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Guidance in Exchange for Equity Stake

“Accelerated Ventures Inc. — Acc-Ven, for short — offers financial guidance and legal services to startups in exchange for equity stakes. Joel Hartstone, president of Stonegate Capital Co., and Cohn Birnbaum Managing Partner Michael Mulpete envision their venture as a model for not only investing in fledgling companies with promising technology but also as a means of cultivating new and lasting professional-client relationships.”

“We think this has a multifaceted application in terms of where law firms are going and how business is done in today’s economy and the economy of the future,” said Hartstone.

Acc-Ven’s business accelerator model differs from a startup incubator, Hartstone said. While both exist to mentor startups in navigating the financing, regulatory and other nuances of building a business, an incubator is an actual brick-and-mortar site, with office space, furniture, equipment, etc. Acc-Ven isn’t offering that.”

Read more about Acc-Ven on HartfordBusiness.com

 

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New Law Draws Entrepreneurs to Spain

In September of 2013 Spain passed a new law to promote domestic business and attract new talent and innovation. More specifically, the law allows foreign entrepreneurs easier access to work visas assuming that they have health insurance and enough money to support themselves while in the country.

While setting up a business in Spain is not without its unique challenges, Stacia Carr, an entrepreneur who was quick to take advantage of the visa, notes that Spanish cities have lower costs and fewer competitors than places like London, Paris and of course the Silicon Valley Giant. Furthermore, the cost is a quarter of what it would be if she had stayed in California.

The new law, known as the Ley de Emprendedores, is the country’s last effort to attract fresh, wealthy minds and reverse a trend of high unemployment in a struggling economy. There are five visa categories under Ley de Emprendedores:

  • For investors who purchase at least 500,000 euros of real estate
  • For entrepreneurs who plan to establish businesses
  • For highly skilled professionals
  • For researchers, scientists, and teachers
  • For employees and trainees

Once approved, visa holders may move freely among most nations in the EU.

Stateside, awareness of Spain’s new Ley de Emprendedores has yet to spread. “The law is on the right track but needs measures that would make it a little more revolutionary,” said Juan Martínez-Barea, a Spanish biotechnology entrepreneur from Silicon Valley. He admitted that few individuals in his circles are aware of the new Spanish law to attract innovators, investors and professionals to the country.

Read the full story – New York Times

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The Failure of Innovation

“Innovation, by necessity, is inextricably linked with failure. The path to any success is lined with disasters. Most of the products that do make it out of the lab fail spectacularly once they hit the market. Even successful products will ultimately fail when a better idea comes along.” – This is the rather terrifying yet truthful observation of New York Times writer Adam Davidson regarding, innovation-harboring cities like Silicon Valley. Under the blanket of success and innovation there is also an equal rate of failure, an out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new attitude that can neither be avoided nor cured.

“An age of constant invention naturally begets one of constant failure. The life span of an innovation, in fact, has never been shorter. An African hand ax from 285,000 years ago, for instance, was essentially identical to those made some 250,000 years later.”

This article paints a picture of how innovation and growth has changed, drastically, since the industrial revolution:

“During the late 19th century, a series of experiments in organizational structure culminated, in the 1920s, with the birth of General Motors, the first modern corporation. Its basic characteristics soon became ubiquitous. Ownership, which was once a job passed from father to son, was now divided among countless shareholders. Management, too, was divided, among a large group of professionals who directed units, or “subdivisions,” within it. The corporation, in essence, acted as a giant risk-sharing machine, amassing millions of investors’ capital and spreading it among a large number of projects, then sharing the returns broadly too. The corporation managed the risk so well, in fact, that it created an innovation known as the steady job. For the first time in history, the risks of innovation were not borne by the poorest. This resulted in what economists call the Great Compression, when the gap between the income of the rich and poor rapidly fell to its lowest margin.”

Read the full New York Times article 

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New Startup Raises $100 Million

Jonathan Rothberg’s new startup raises $100 million! rothberg

The device is a portable ultrasound scanner. It’s the size of an iPhone and will allow the user to hold the device up to a person’s chest and see vivid, moving 3-D images of what’s going on inside. This innovation is set to rock the medical imaging industry, making it as cheap, if not cheaper than a stethoscope!

The imaging system is being developed by Butterfly Network, a three-year old company that Rothberg says is the furthest advanced of several ventures that will be coming out of 4Combinator, an incubator he has created to start and finance companies that combine medical sensors with a branch of artificial intelligence sciences.

“The vision for this product has been around for many years”, says Richard Przybyla. “It remains to be seen whether someone can make it into a market-validated reality.”

To read more on the MIT Technology Review – click here

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